Crowdmug Creates A Marketplace For Real-Time Location Based Photos and Videos

August 11, 2011

2:30 pm

Ever wish there were traffic cameras everywhere so you could find out what the scene is like at your favorite bar, restaurant or hangout? One San Francisco-based startup is looking to help solve that problem with its latest creation, the Crowdmug application. Crowdmug just launched for iPhone – it enables people to put a bounty on getting a location-based photo or a video.

With Crowdmug you can submit a request for a look at the W Hotel lobby in San Francisco.  Just set a bounty and time limit and then wait for a response.  (You can request up to 3 photos and 1 video in any single request.)  The application notifies others of the bounty, and if someone is in the area and completes the request, they get paid. The photo or video is then posted so that you can see the scene and make a decision as to whether to head over or go to another venue. It seems like a win-win.

Crowdmug is a really great way to crowdsource for cash. It gives anyone on the streets armed with an iPhone (and soon Android) the opportunity to make money for sharing a simple photo or video of places they are visiting. I know a lot of curious and/or lazy people who would pay for this service. Not only is it good for those looking to go out on the town, Crowdmug could be used in business too. Event planners could use the app to look at a particular venue without having to travel to see it. I bet it could even be used in the real estate industry in some capacity.

My only concern with this application is whether it will get enough traction to ensure submitted requests are answered by the crowd in a timely manner. I guess it will probably work better in more populated areas, just like check-ins do on other popular location-based apps. However, CrowdMug also keeps the videos and photos that are uploaded for a specific location, so over time there should be a solid collection to reference. Obviously, these will not be real-time images, but they could help others understand the trends related to a specific location.

Another startup that we covered recently, SceneTap, does something slightly similar to Crowdmug.  They position cameras in bars and restaurants that use facial detection (not recognition) and people-counting technology to capture the scene – how many guys, how many girls, what are their ages, and so – and help you figure out where to head for a night out.

Crowdmug has the potential to turn into a new kind of location-based check-in craze, where instead of getting virtual badges like you do on other services, you could make real money for sharing. Would you take a video or send a photo for money?

Download the Crowdmug iPhone app from iTunesCrowdmug - Castapart LLC

To better understand the concept check out the video below:

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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